If you seek to build an aesthetic body as efficiently as possible. The basic exercise program that I describe here can be used by everyone to get an extraordinary body over a relatively short time. Though the ultimate results will vary depending on your commitment to the program, your nutrition, and your starting point it will be possible for you to become strong, fit and muscular within a short time frame and a simple routine. It is a misconception to think that you have to take a lot of time to tend to your body and make it look good. Some people even insist that the time requirement makes it impossible for them to look good or lose weight. However, there is no basis for these beliefs. You only have to work out three times a week to see the results you want if you are patient and continuously work towards your dream body.
The reasons why you can get away with only three workouts a week are manifold and simple. First, most people do not focus on the tasks that get you the most results: compound lifts. Second, many people do not track their progress during training. Third, many people do not allow themselves to recover from each workout. If you give yourself enough time to recover, while you focus on compound lifts and track your progress you will maximize the benefits of your training and progress quickly.
Why focus on compound lifts?
The reason why I want you to focus on compound lifts is their complexity. Your body has to recruit and coordinate a lot of muscles to perform a single compound lift. Like this, compound lifts can train many muscles at once compared to an isolation exercise that only trains one specific muscle.
Why track my progress?
I want you to track your progress because tracking progress will prevent stagnation. Stagnation during training occurs often when you do not track your progress because you will have a hard time evaluating how much of a challenge your workouts are for you. If you only rely on your subjective feelings to evaluate your workouts, you will often overestimate how challenging the workout really was because you do not compare the workout to any objective criteria. To prevent you from making subjective judgments about your performance and progress start writing down how much weight you lifted during each workout. Objective criteria are much more reliable than your feelings when you evaluate I use excel for this and it takes less than 5 minutes.
You can download a template here and look at my progress sheet here.
The reason why you must keep track of your workouts on paper (or on screen) is that it will enable you to progressively overload. Progressive overload is the single most important factor when you want to stimulate muscle growth. Roughly speaking, progressive overload refers to the idea to constantly increase the weight you lift over time. People who do not track their progress will overestimate how challenging the workout was for them and they will miss opportunities to make their workouts slightly more challenging than they could be because of their subjective evaluation of the workout.
However, when you track your progress and continually increase the weight you will produce the necessary progressive overload to grow muscles quickly. This is especially true when you have a simple yet effective training program that allows you to get the most out of compound lifts for each major muscle group of the body. Following a simple routine while you increase the difficulty every time you perform that routine will make you stronger, fitter and more muscular. When you focus on the right compound lifts you will eventually end up with an aesthetic body.
You only need to work out three times a week if you stick to your plan and progressively overload. You will be able to attain the results that you desire, but you will have to be patient enough to wait for them. You cannot force your body to change drastically because your body has a limited and gradual rate of change. At a given day, week or month your body won’t transform from one extreme to the other, instead, it will transform gradually. However, if you work consistently the results are guaranteed to follow and eventually your body will make the transition towards a body that you want. Remember that as long as you can see progress on paper you will also see progress in the mirror.
Most of the time you will be better off just doing a little bit each week, instead of trying to achieve it all in one week. Additionally, more exercise each week will also lead to diminishing returns, not faster progress. The reason why some elite athletes exercise daily is that their fitness level is extremely high and their muscles need to be challenged daily to guarantee optimal performance at competitions. However, this is not necessary or practical for the vast majority of people to whom this workout is addressed.
Most people are not professional athletes, but most people can benefit from regular exercise. Regular exercise is fundamental to your personal well-being and can prevent most of the most common medical and mental problems that arise from a sedentary lifestyle. Apart from the obvious health benefits that you can get from exercise, exercising regularly will make you feel better about yourself, help you stay healthy and offer challenges in your lift that help you grow into a better person.
- Work out three times a week
- Alternate between the two workouts outlined below
- Keep working out three times a week
- Progressively add more weight over time
- Track your progress
- Reap the rewards
- 3*5 Squats
- 3*5 Bench Press
- 3*5 ChinUps
- 3*5 Dips
- 3*5 Squats
- 3*5 Overhead Press
- 4*5 Deadlift
- 3*5 Isolation Exercise
Possible Isolation Exercises
- Calf raises
- Grip strength training
- Ab training
- Warm-Up 5 Min
- Do one set of Squats with a very light weight to complete the Warm-Up
- Do each set of exercises and rest 1.5 minutes between each set
- Try to increase the weight as often as possible
- If you fail to complete 5 repetitions in a set drop 10% of the weight
- When you have dropped the weight because you could not complete a set add five pounds per week until you are back to the original weight
As long as you follow these simple instructions you will eventually have an awesome physique training three times a week.
Rational for the compound exercises
Squats is a good exercise that trains your calves, hamstrings, quads, glutes, and core. Performing a proper squat in good form engages the majority of the muscles in your body and stimulates growth. Regular squatting has been shown to improve overall body strength. There is even a training program that focusses on squatting every day. It is intended for powerlifters and can be found here.
The Bench Press is excellent to build up your pecs and triceps. It also requires you to balance your back and shoulders utilizing the core. The bench press is the single best exercise to build a great chest. You can use the incline bench press as an alternative to the flat bench press.
The Chin Up is the best exercise for your back and will give you a V-Taper. The Chin-Up is a very hard exercise on its own, but the rewards are insane as it is able to build up your entire back musculature by itself. You will see insane gains when you start to perform weighted chin-ups each week.
The Dip is the best triceps exercise in my opinion. Just like Chin-Ups, the weighted dip is enough to build up an impressive triceps by itself. It will also help you build a broader chest, shoulders, and back.
The Overhead Press is by far my favorite lift and a good indicator of overall body strength. The Overhead Press primarily targets the shoulders, but you will have to engage your entire body to remain balanced. It is impossible to be weak while lifting a heavy object over your head. Every time you add weight to this lift you will see broader shoulders and improve core stability.
The Deadlift is the best exercise to build a strong lower back, glutes, and hamstrings. It also targets the other leg muscles and your core. This lift is special because it is going to be the lift with the highest weight. For that reason, I recommend doing 2 sets of light sets to warm up specifically for the deadlift. Your spine is the most important bone in your body and you should protect it. After the deadlift specific warm-up, you can perform two heavy sets to build a strong core and massive back.
The Isolation Exercise
Even though this program targets all the muscles in your body and leaves out no muscle group, there are some muscles that do not receive direct training. The biceps, for example, is only utilized during Chin-Ups. Therefore, it may be necessary to add an isolation exercise like curls to your workout, that is, if you want bigger arms.
I personally perform Weighted Pull-Ups, because it does put a strain on the biceps and helps me relax my back after deadlifting. However, it does not matter what you pick. The isolation exercise should target a muscle group that you want to grow or a muscle group that is not directly targeted by any of the compound lifts. The best candidate would be a biceps exercise, a calf exercise, a grip exercise or an ab exercise.
I personally exercise daily (for at least 30 minutes, but 45 minutes on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday), but on the other weekdays I use workout C. C stands for Continuation. When I started exercising one of my goals was to move at least a little bit daily, that includes days I am not going to the gym. I also use C days to perform stretches. While I usually do some cardio (15-20 minutes), followed by ab-exercises (5-10 minutes) and grip training (5 minutes) during the week, I focus on stretching and relaxation on the weekend.
Extending the Workout in Future
If you are a complete beginner and perform the exercises faithfully three times a week you should be able to gain strength using only the workout A and workout B routine three times a week. Eventually, however, you are going to reach a limit where progress on a 3*5 split is not possible anymore. At that point, you will already be incredibly strong, fit and good looking so that you could shift your focus on maintenance.
If you want to continue progress even further, you can make simple and slight adaptation to the system. Instead of performing 3*5, start doing 4*5 or 5*5 sets to increase volume. Increased volume will lead to increased muscle growth, but will extend the time you have to spend working out. You can also add one isolation exercise after each routine so that you do Curls on A days and Calfs on B days.
Alternatively, you could try out new things and incorporate alternative training methods to make working out more exciting for you. It does not matter what you decide to do, as long as you continue to workout three times a week you should reap most of the benefits that regular exercise has to offer to you.
There are a couple of items that you should consider buying if you want to follow this simple program successfully. They are not needed, but they will help you make progress.
It is extremely useful to buy microplates for any type of weightlifting program. Microplates are small weights (0.25 or 0.5 kg) that you can add to increase the weight weekly to continuously create a progressive overload. They are not expensive and the addition of microplates can become necessary later on when you want to progress to higher levels. They are not necessary when you are a beginner.
Most gyms do not have plates that are smaller that 1.25 kg (some do) and some gyms do not even have the 1.25 kg plates. This means that you have to be able to increase your strength by 2.5 kilo’s per set, per week in order to progress. This will become impossible very quickly for some lifts (Overhead Press) but is not a big problem for some others (Deadlift).
You will probably be able to increase your strength by 2.5 kg per week (or two) for the Deadlift because it utilizes the bodies strongest muscles. Making a 2.5 kg jump on the Deadlift is even possible after a year of training (at least monthly). However, this does not work for other lifts that are more technical or utilize smaller muscle groups. For example, if you want to improve from 5 * 45 kg on the Overhead Press and use the smallest possible increment of weight at the gym it could be that you have to work with 5 * 50 kg which will be really hard to do. It becomes much easier when you only add a single kilo per week with micro plates. Now you can space out your progression over 5 weeks and make an easily achievable jump each week. This will keep you motivated because you keep improving week by week.
I recommend buying 10 microplates, but if your gym has 1,25 kg plates you technically only need 6 to progress. Since they are inexpensive it does not make a difference which ones you buy. I have bought these <a href="http:////ws-eu.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=GB&source=ac&ref=tf_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=graunicorn-21&marketplace=amazon®ion=GB&placement=B01CYBEAE4&asins=B01CYBEAE4&linkId=ddb2885793ab55be668b1b130661d254&show_border=false&link_opens_in_new_window=false&price_color=333333&title_color=0066C0&bg_color=FFFFFF“>microplates for my workouts.
Since this workout requires you to perform Weighted Dips and Chin-Ups you will have to buy a weightbelt. The weightbelt enables you to increase the resistance your muscles have to overcome on bodyweight exercises. It is a tremendous help to use the Weight-Belt in combination with bodyweight exercises and will give you awesome muscles quickly. In addition with microplates, you can add 0.5 kg per week and keep getting stronger and stronger and stronger.
I have bought this weightbelt for my workouts.